As the National Union of Students calls on universities to “come clean” and students’ unions, such as Warwick, make their financial statements easily available online, Nouse can reveal what YUSU spends its, and your, money on.
The University publishes its financial statements on its website and although YUSU’s accounts are available on request, Tim Ellis, YUSU President, has said he will not be publishing the accounts in full on the YUSU website at the moment.
The accounts show that YUSU had a total income of £1,034,603 in 2011, with the majority coming from the University in the form of a £830,000 grant. This fund has increased by 6.8 per cent since 2008, with the biggest increase occurring in 2010/11 (4 per cent) in order for two new staff positions to be created. In the 2011 statement, £319,532 was spent on administrative staff salaries, whilst £105,723 was spent on the six full-time sabbatical officers.
A notable loss in 2011 came from the summer ball where, in contrary to previous years, a £10,029 deficit was recorded. YUSU have said the summer ball is run as a service and therefore should break even and has done so over the last 10 years. Nouse cannot confirm this, but since 2008 YUSU has taken £44,146 in profit from the last four summer balls.
In terms of direct investment into the student experience, sports clubs received £80,501 in grants from YUSU in 2011, whilst societies received £56,058. YUSU states in its 2010-2013 Strategic Plan that the reason for this difference is due to “the higher level of resources involved in running student activities”. The difference between the grant allocations of sports clubs and societies has fallen over the last four years. In 2008, sports clubs received £46,701 more funding than societies, and this dropped to only £24,443 in 2011.
Ellis stated: “YUSU’s accounts will be up for scrutiny at our first Annual General Meeting on Thursday of Week 8 where students will be able to ask questions, query anything and finally vote on them. As a newly registered charity, all our accounts are also sent to the Charity Commission and as such are publicly available. Students are free to request them either from myself as Chair of YUSU Trustee Board or the YUSU CEO. Currently, content on the YUSU website is being overhauled, and ensuring that our members know they are able to request our accounts is part of that new content.”
In comparison to other similar size universities, YUSU has a relatively small total income. Durham University’s students’ union has over double the amount of income. Whilst their block grant from Durham University is lower than YUSU’s at £573,450 in 2011, their income from “charitable activities for students”, including “events and venue rentals” and “bars”, contributes to a total income of £2.1 million.
The YUSU accounts also show that YourShop, run by YUSU, generated almost £50,000 in profit in 2010/11. However, YUSU states that all the profit from its commercial activities is invested back into the student community.
Ellis added: “Every year, the budget is looked into and with the increases that have been secured over the last few years, YUSU has been able to expand the support we give to JCRCs with a dedicated member of staff, employ a Research and Policy Coordinator, and increase the support we give to clubs and societies, which includes our campus media.”